Warriors I: A Reckoning Of Forces

A warrior is a funny creature
As much fierce and fire
As she is mud and mire.
As much tears as blood
As much ebb as flood.
And when once you have fought her
Seen the triumph you have brought her
You’ve done no more than teach her
That wars are won by no higher
Force than our daughters.


Warriors III

Before we had things
To put in our house
They danced in the empty spaces.
And sometimes when we sing
Of all we have lost
The night flows past in their voices.
How many times I’ve laid them down
My weapons and my defences
Only to find them forged anew
And alight in my daughters’ faces.


I got the baingans right tonight
(The trick is not to heat the oil
Too much) and the kala namak
Was the perfect finishing touch.
The keema also turned out quite
Well. You could hardly tell
The difference from the way
Mom used to make it. Today
I remembered how much
Dad loved the baingan slices.
So dinner turned out well (it was just
A question of adjusting memory
To spices).



Every time I lay them out I hear her.
“See? You were asking who
Would have the patience to
Do this by hand!” Near her,
My niece wonders at my patience.
And in the midst of the ritual
I wonder if she remembers that
It was called Patience for a reason.
Or used to be. Now we call it
Solitaire. A game you play
With yourself. Where it’s treason
To cheat, I hear Janis Ian
Say. I’ve never yet played it
Without “17” in my head. “Those
Of us with ravaged faces, lacking
In the social graces.” I’ve made it,
I think, this far, as I watch the game
Slowly and surely, go nowhere.
Identical backs turn up the same
Numbers in surprising ways. When
I win, I turn my reproachful gaze
On the bemused man, unaware
That he’s going to be hit with it again:
The lucky in love rule. “Who were
You thinking of? How come I won?”
Solitaire, I’m a diamond. Second to none.